Many people already have a very real fear of spiders but it’s the brown recluse spider who perhaps takes the cake when it comes to arachnophobia.
These small, brown spiders commonly make their homes in our homes, living in clutter and warm, dry spaces. According to some sources, the brown recluse spider is responsible for countless bites each year, with many of these bites leading to horrific skin lesions, infections and illnesses.
But how many of these bites are properly diagnosed, and is the brown recluse spider really the monster it is made out to be?
Because the brown recluse spider is a common spider found throughout the United States and is routinely found inside American homes, it’s important to understand as much as you can about this arachnid and learn how to manage an infestation if you should come across one.
Join us today as we learn the truth about the brown recluse spider and talk about how to get rid of and prevent brown recluse infestations in your home.
What Is A Brown Recluse?
Brown recluse spiders are one of three medically important spiders in North America.
The brown recluse is one of three medically important spiders in the United States. He joins the ranks of other venomous spiders in North America like the black widow and the hobo spider.
Native to the US, the brown recluse is primarily found in Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky, Indian, Illinois, Ohio, Nebraska and Iowa. That said, there are some reports of brown recluse sightings and even bites in states outside of these regions, although it’s important to note that over 80% of spider bites are misdiagnosed each year throughout the US.
Also known as the fiddle back spider or the violin spider, the brown recluse is famous for his small, brown body, eight long legs, six eyes and the unique fiddle shape on his thorax.
As his name suggests, the brown recluse is a reclusive spider who prefers to stay away from humans.
However, what makes the brown recluse so feared, aside from his venomous bite, is that this spider actually prefers to live inside human homes. This is because we humans often create an environment that is ideal for this arachnid, building up clutter and an accumulation of boxes, debris, and clothing that brown recluses love.
Worse, brown recluse spiders reproduce exponentially, so it isn’t uncommon to find thousands of these spiders inside a single home during one infestation.
However, the good news is that brown recluse bites are not as deadly as some sources would have you believe. In fact, only one out of every ten people bitten by a brown recluse will experience that terrible skin rot their bite is famous for.
In general, the majority of people bitten by a brown recluse will experience mild swelling or a minor fever. However, in 1% of cases, some people bitten can experience a severe reaction to a brown recluse bite that requires immediate medical attention.
The below video shares some very informative information on the brown recluse spider and covers fact vs myth when it comes to the seriousness of a brown recluse bite.
While brown recluse spiders are greatly feared, it’s important to note that they also play a very important role in our ecosystem. Like other spiders, the brown recluse is responsible for helping control the population of pests like moths, mosquitoes, crickets, flies, roaches and sometimes even other brown recluse spiders.
Still, although most brown recluse bites are not deadly or even as dangerous as you may have originally believed, we’re still willing to bet you don’t want these creepy crawlies roaming around your home.
So, how do you get rid of a brown recluse infestation? In order to come up with a plan of action to remove brown recluse spiders, you must first have a better understanding of what has attracted them to your home.
What Has Attracted The Brown Recluse To Your Home?
Brown Recluse spiders are attracted to clutter and prefer dry, dark and warm areas inside our homes.
Brown recluse spiders do have many natural habitats outside, but they tend to prefer living inside human homes riddled with clutter. Outside, spiders are attracted to construction materials, overgrown yards or debris, leaf litter, large stones, logs, wood piles, and weeds or vegetation that can grow along your home’s perimeter.
Spiders find their way inside our homes via small cracks and crevices outside the perimeter. They can also find their way inside through gaps in doorways and ripped screens. Most disconcerting, brown recluse spiders can find their way into our homes through human travel.
Because these spiders are often found hiding in boxes and other storage items, it is common for them to make their way into homes and spaces during moves, camping trips, vacations, or even day trips.
Most commonly, brown recluse spiders are found inside homes in the following areas:
Once inside our homes, brown recluse spiders can live between one and two years and they reproduce rapidly during that time. Female brown recluse spiders produce several egg sacs over a three month span from May to July, with each egg sack containing around 300 or so eggs.
These eggs take around four weeks to hatch and the baby spiders, adorably known as spiderlings, take up to one year to fully mature. Once mature, the reproduction cycle begins all over again.
How To Identify A Brown Recluse Infestation
Brown recluse spiders are a bit larger than a penny and have a distinctive violin shape on their thorax.
Brown recluse spiders are certainly a problem when they invade our homes, not only because of the potential of their nasty bite, but also because of the rate at which they reproduce. But do you really have brown recluse spiders dwelling inside your humble abode?
It can be difficult to tell. Remember, over 80% of spider bites are misdiagnosed each year and brown recluse spiders currently have a very specific range throughout the United States. Still, many states that are not known to harbor brown recluse spiders often report bites and sightings.
This could be for a few reasons. One, brown recluse spiders are small and brown, and this describes hundred upon hundreds of other species of common spiders in the US. They are also reclusive in nature and often go unnoticed until someone accidentally comes across them, and even then you may not know you have brown recluse spiders in your home until after you have been bitten.
Identifying A Brown Recluse Spider Bite
Brown recluse bites are only serious about 10% of the time.
Most brown recluse bites happen by accident after a person picks up material that a brown recluse is hiding in. in fact, a brown recluse spider’s fangs are so small that they actually need the weight of something behind them to press them into human skin in order to get enough strength to penetrate the flesh. For this reason, most brown recluse bites happen on the torso, the arms, legs, or sometimes feet.
Brown recluse bites are generally painless, but within hours you may notice a few different symptoms at the bite site including redness, swelling and a reddish ring around the center of the bite.
Only about 10% of brown recluse bites result in serious side effects and complications, and in rare cases skin will become sunken, turn white, and a deterioration of the skin will occur over several weeks.
Some people also experience a mild fever with a brown recluse bite. That said, most people will be able to go about their normal lives and may not even realize they have been bitten at all. Remember, there are no documented cases of anyone having died from a brown recluse bite.
Identifying A Brown Recluse By Appearance
While most spiders have eight eyes, brown recluse spiders have six eyes in three sets of two.
Many different spiders are mistaken for brown recluse spiders, but there are a few telltale signs you can look for if you come across a spider in your home and are unsure.
Brown recluse spiders range in color from tan to brown. They are between 1/4th and ½ an inch in length, have three pairs of eyes set in a triangular shape on their head, and have a darker violin shape on their thorax.
Their six eyes and the violin pattern on their thorax is generally what identifies a brown recluse over other types of spiders and lets you know you should stay away and come up with a plan to get rid of these arachnids. Why? Because where there is one brown recluse spider there are bound to be many more.
Identifying Brown Recluse Egg Sacs
Brown recluse egg sacs are most commonly found during late spring and into early summer. They are cream or tan colored and are round in shape. You will come across egg sacs anywhere there is a large abundance of brown recluse spiders, most often in areas where these spiders are dwelling like basements, attics, and in closets.
Identifying Brown Recluse Spider Webs
The spider web of a brown recluse is unique to that of many other spider webs because it is not used to catch prey. It is often an off white color, appears cob-web like without any real pattern, and is generally built low to the ground near baseboards and on bottom cupboards.
In fact, brown recluses only use their webs as a place to live, which is why it is often built in areas that will generally be out of the way and undisturbed. Brown recluse spiders are hunters, and actively hunt their prey at night.
How To Get Rid Of A Brown Recluse Infestation – Most Popular Methods
Brown recluse bites often happen by accident as they like to hide in our clothing and shoes..
Have you identified a brown recluse infestation in your house? While these creatures may not be as dangerous as some would have you believe, it’s still important to come up with a plan to control and remove them from your home, especially if they have infested your home in large numbers.
Luckily, there are plenty of methods you can use to get rid of brown recluse spiders including the use of natural methods, home remedies, insecticides, and professionals.
Like many spiders, brown recluse spiders are sensitive to certain environments, smells, and climate conditions. For this reason, there are several methods you can use to get rid of them that don’t require the use of chemicals or toxic sprays.
Some popular natural methods include sticky boards, ultrasonic pest repellents, natural dusts and natural sprays.
If you would prefer to try your hand at do it yourself pest control options, you’re in luck. When it comes to getting rid of the brown recluse and even the pests they prey on like roaches, crickets, flies, and moths, many people find that household ingredients do the trick. Scroll down a bit to learn more about some easy and inexpensive recipes and ingredients you can use to get rid of the brown recluse spider at home.
Because brown recluse spiders are venomous, many people with small children or pets in the home prefer to use chemical sprays to eradicate these pests. We should note that using insecticides is not always necessary when it comes to getting rid of the brown recluse, especially if your infestation isn’t very serious.
That said, infestations of brown recluse spiders can grow quite large and may require the use of several methods including natural methods, home remedies, and insecticides and chemicals.
Brown recluse spiders can be difficult to eradicate because they congregate in such large numbers, they are reclusive, and they often stow away in small, dark spaces.
A large infestation of brown recluse spiders may also be a sign of another pest problem in your home including a roach or cricket infestation. If this is the case, you may need to contact professionals to help you pinpoint the problem and help you get rid of brown recluse spiders once and for all.
But before we get into when it’s time to call in the pros to get rid of this pest, let’s first look at some other methods you can use that are less expensive and potentially safer for your family, pets and the environment.
How To Get Rid Of The Brown Recluse Using Natural Methods
You can use a number of natural methods and products to get rid of brown recluse spiders.
What we like most about using natural methods for pest control is that they are generally safe for people, pets and the environment. You can often use these methods all year round and use them confidently, especially if you have children or pets in the home.
That said, when it comes to a brown recluse infestation, you may need to use a combination of methods that include natural repellents, sprays, and even insecticides or professionals.
It’s also important to make sure you find products that are specifically designed to get rid of and control brown recluse spiders in the home.
For your convenience, we have listed some of our favorite natural products for how to get rid of the brown recluse spider below.
Brown Recluse Insect Glue Traps
Glue traps are a popular form of brown recluse control in homes not so much because they eradicate infestations, but because they help you keep an eye on the problem and will give you an idea of how many brown recluse spiders you are dealing with.
These traps can be placed anywhere you suspect brown recluse activity like beneath appliances, in basements, along baseboards, in closets and in attics.
The traps are safe to use in homes with people and pets and even fold into a covered design to help prevent curious children and pets from getting stuck to them. We also like that these traps work to catch other pests like roaches, ants and bed bugs.
Mighty Mint Spider Repellent Spray
This spray by Mighty Mint uses non toxic ingredients like peppermint oil to kill and repel spiders like the brown recluse. It is safe to use indoors and around people and pets, and is something we have used personally to keep spiders at bay ourselves.
We like this spray because it not only works but also leaves behind a pleasant odor that isn’t too strong. The peppermint smell it leaves behind is also enough to help repel future spiders and even other pests.
However, if you have a very large infestation of brown recluse spiders you may need to use this spray along with other methods and products in order to get rid of them completely.
Neatmaster Ultrasonic Pest Repeller
Ultrasonic pest repellers like the one above are popular for many people who want a natural form of pest control in their home. These repellers can be used all year long and plug into power outlets inside. They do not use chemicals or other harsh ingredients to repel pests like brown recluse spiders and instead work by emitting ultrasonic sound waves and vibrations.
These sounds and vibrations irritate pests like spiders, roaches, rodents, ants, and sometimes even snakes and lizards, making your home less hospitable to pests and therefore helping to keep them at bay.
MDXconcenpts Organic Pest Control Spray
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Another natural spray that uses essential oils like peppermint oil is a spray by MDXConcepets. This spray is natural and safe for pets, people and the environment. It works against roaches, ants, spiders, beetles, earwigs, and many other annoying pests.
The spray can kill on contact but can work for an extended period of time to keep pests from returning. You can use this spray both indoors and out and it is safe to use around gardens as well.
Diatomaceous Earth Crawling Insect Killer
Diatomaceous Earth is a natural dust insecticide that is made from fossilized algae and works to kill a number of crawling pests by penetrating their exoskeleton, which dehydrates and kills them.
We like this product because it is highly effective against spiders, roaches, bed bugs, crickets and ants, but it is completely harmless for people, pets and the environment.
You can use this dust both inside and outside and it is safe to use in areas where food is prepared and stored. You can also use this in your garden and around edible plants. However, Diatomaceous Earth works best when it is dry and will need to be reapplied when it gets wet.
GreenWay Spider Traps
Last on our list of natural methods and traps for brown recluse spiders are these sticky traps by Green Way. These traps use non-toxic glue and eco-friendly packaging to help you trap and identify which types of pests you are dealing with.
Like the other sticky trap on this list, GreenWay spider traps are not meant to help eradicate an infestation, but rather to help you identify if you are indeed dealing with brown recluse spiders. They can also help you keep an eye on other control methods so you can tell if they are working or not.
This sticky traps above also helps trap other pests as well including silverfish.
Best Home Remedies To Get Rid Of The Brown Recluse
Peppermint oil is a common household ingredient you can use to repel all kinds of spiders including the brown recluse.
Anyone who is into natural pest control or DIY pest control methods will like this section of our article because we are focusing solely on home remedies you can use to eradicate brown recluse spiders and other pests.
Take a look.
Essential Oils To Repel Brown Recluse Spiders
Like many pests that include mice, rats, roaches, and mosquitoes, the brown recluse is repelled by the overwhelming smells of different essential oils. Some of the best essential oils you can use against a brown recluse spider are:
- Citronella Oil
- Eucalyptus Oil
- Citrus Oil
- Cinnamon Oil
- Cedar Oil
- Peppermint Oil
- Tea Tree Oil
You can even make your own spider repellent spray using the above essential oils by following the recipe below.
- 5 drops of peppermint oil
- 16 ounces of water
- 1 pump of dish soap
- 1 spray bottle
Add the above ingredients to a spray bottle and shake the bottle vigorously to mix the solution. Then you can spray this solution around baseboards, in attics, closets, basements, and anywhere else you have noticed brown recluse activity. You can also spray this mixture along the perimeter of your home, focusing on entry and exit points like doors and windows to help keep any future brown recluse spiders from entering.
White Vinegar and Dish Soap Spider Spray
White vinegar is commonly used as a natural household cleaner when mixed with distilled water, but you can also add some dish soap to turn it into a very effective spider repellent.
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 1 pump of dish soap
- 1 spray bottle
Mix the above ingredients into a spray bottle and again shake the bottle vigorously to mix the solution. Like the essential oil spray above, we suggest you spray this solution anywhere you have noticed brown recluse activity like along baseboards, in basements, attics, closets and more.
We also suggest using this spray along the perimeter of your home to keep any future spiders and pests from entering.
How To Get Rid Of The Brown Recluse With Insecticides
Insecticides are sometimes required to control and eradicate brown recluse infestations.
Natural methods and home remedies don’t work for everyone when it comes to getting rid of a brown recluse infestation, especially if that infestation is overwhelming. If you have repeatedly come into contact with brown recluse spiders and not just seen one or two, you may need to use a more intensive treatment or a combination of treatments to get rid of these pests.
There are plenty of insecticides and spider sprays on the market dedicated to helping eradicate spider infestations, but it’s important to find a spray that is designed to target venomous spiders like the brown recluse.
We have listed some of our favorite insecticides for how to get rid of the brown recluse down below for you to look at.
Terro Spider Killer Aerosol Spray
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The above insecticide spray by Terro is specifically designed to target and kill spiders like brown recluse spiders, black widows and hobo spiders. The product can also kill roaches, scorpions, bed bugs, crickets and ants.
It kills on contact but also has an extended killing power, which helps take care of any other spiders or pests who may come into contact with it. That said, this spray does use chemical ingredients and can be toxic to people and pets. For this reason, you should use it only as directed and keep it out of reach of children.
Black Flag Spider & Scorpion Killer Spray
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This is another aerosol spray that uses insecticides to kill and control large brown widow infestations. It kills spiders on contact and continues working to kill and repel spiders and even eggs and egg sacs for up to 16 weeks.
You can use this spray both indoors and out to keep spiders at bay as well as other pests like scorpions, black widows and wolf spiders.
Miss Muffet’s Revenge Indoor and Outdoor Spray
If you are looking for an indoor and outdoor spray to control and eradicate brown recluse spider infestations, you may want to check out Miss Muffet’s Revenge. The name is cute but the product is serious. It uses the active ingredient deltamethrin to kill and prevent spiders for up to 12 months both inside and outside of your home.
It works against black widows, brown recluses, and other arachnids and insects inside and outside the home. It also includes a spray nozzle so you can reach difficult places.
That said, this product does use a chemical insecticide that is dangerous for people and pets and should be used only as directed.
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Taurus SC is a liquid insecticide that is designed to eradicate large infestations of brown recluse spiders, roaches, crickets, cluster flies, black widows, ants and more. The product does not contain a repellent ingredient, which means it allows for pests that have already infested to come into contact with it in order to effectively kill them.
This product is most recommended if you are currently dealing with a large infestation of brown recluses that you need to eradicate and is not designed as a preventive for future infestations.
How To Get Rid Of The Brown Recluse – When To Call A Professional
If you have identified a very large brown recluse problem, you may need to contact professionals for help.
Unfortunately, brown recluse spiders are incredible reproduces and are prone to infesting homes and buildings in large numbers. Worse still, their presence is often also an indicator of other pest problems in the home, especially considering they feed exclusively on soft bodied insects and other spiders.
For a serious infestation of brown recluse spiders, you may need to contact professionals for help. Most professional pest control experts charge between $100 and $500 depending on the severity of your brown recluse infestation, but they will also be able to help you pinpoint the problem at its source and help you come up with a plan of prevention.
Of course, we have a few tips on how you can prevent future brown recluse infestations in your home as well.
How To Prevent A Future Brown Recluse Infestation In Your Home
You can help prevent brown recluse infestations by decluttering your home.
Like most pests, brown recluse spiders find their way inside your home seeking food, shelter and warmth. Unfortunately, once inside, brown recluse spiders will rarely leave on their own, especially if their living environment is ideal.
You can prevent future brown recluse infestations and work to make your home less hospitable to these spiders by following the steps below.
Practice Routine Home Maintenance
Brown recluse spiders can find their way into your home through many different means. While you can’t prevent them from getting into your house 100% of the time, you can still reduce your chances of facing a brown recluse infestation by ensuring you eliminate possible entry points from the outside.
Caulk and seal any cracks and crevices along the perimeter of your home and make sure doors and windows shut securely. We also suggest repairing any ill-fitting or ripped screens.
Declutter Your Home And Clean Often
Remember, brown recluse spiders prefer places of clutter. They like living in areas piled with boxes and debris, which means many of our basements, attics and closets make wonderful homes for these pests.
You can keep brown recluse spiders at bay by cleaning often inside your home. Declutter and organize, and dust, sweep and vacuum regularly.
Keep Food Properly Stored
Brown recluse spiders are certainly not attracted to our human foods, but their prey is. Pests like roaches, ants, crickets, and moths may be lured into our homes by improperly stored foods, dirty dishes, unsealed garbage bins, forgotten crumbs and overripe fruit.
These pests can in turn lure brown recluse spiders into your home. Keeping your food stored properly will reduce the chances of having an abundance of insect pests, which will in turn reduce the chances of having brown recluse spiders.
Remove Clutter and Debris From Your Yard and Around Your Perimeter
Brown recluse spiders are often found living outside of our homes in areas rich in clutter and debris. They like garden sheds, live beneath rocks and logs, and hunt in overgrown lawns and weeds.
Keep these spiders off of your property by landscaping and decluttering your yard. Keep your garden tidy, routinely clean and declutter garden sheds, and keep plants and vegetation at least three feet from the perimeter of your house.
Practice Routine Pest Control In And Around Your Home
Last, we always recommend that you use some kind of routine pest care regime throughout the year. While brown recluse spiders are most active during the spring and summer, they do have long lifespans and can enter your home at any time.
To help keep brown recluse spiders and other pests at bay, we suggest practicing routine pest control and continuing to follow the above preventative measures year-round.
So, what do you think now that you know a bit more about the brown recluse spider? These interesting, highly misunderstood, yet still very creepy arachnids certainly deserve our respect, right?
Now if only they would just stay out of our homes!
Jack founded our blog after two decades of working in the pest control industry. His vast experience dealing with a wide array of pests allows him to diagnose issues quickly and get to the heart of pest problems quickly and effectively. He has serviced more than 2,000 homes over his career and there is hardly any pest situation that he has not seen before.